Austrias RBI gets indications of interest for Russia business

  div classBodysc17zpet90 cdBBJodivpBy Alexandra SchwarzGoerlich and Tom Simsp

  pVIENNA Reuters – Austria‘s Raiffeisen Bank International, one of the European banks most exposed to Russia, has received unsolicited indications of interest for its Russia operations, the bank’s chief said on Wednesday.pdivdivdiv classBodysc17zpet90 cdBBJodiv

  pRBI has been studying strategic options for the business, including a possible withdrawal from Russia, following Russias invasion of Ukraine.p

  pThe lender has operated in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago. Its business there, Russia‘s 10th largest bank by assets, contributed almost a third to the group’s net profit last year.p

  p“We‘ve been approached,” Chief Executive Johann Strobl told analysts. He said in the coming weeks the bank would try to assess the interest of those parties, which he didn’t name. p

  pStrobl said options include a full or partial sale of the business or spinoff. He said a decision may take time.p

  p“We want to get an understanding as quickly as possible what options we have,” he said.p

  pOn Wednesday, the bank said that its firstquarter profit had doubled but it was revising its outlook due to lower loan growth and higher risk assumptions.p

  pThe betterthanexpected profit was helped by a rise in fees and commissions due to increased customer activity by its foreignexchange business in Russia, though risk provisions wiped out many of those gains. p

  pMoreover, loan growth in the country has “largely been stopped”.p

  pConsolidated profit in the quarter was 442 million euros 464.59 million. That was up from 216 million euros a year earlier and exceeded the 165 million euros expected by analysts.p

  pQuarterly results were hurt by 319 million euros in impairments, almost entirely for business in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.p

  pThe bank expects “stable” lending activity in 2022, compared with previous expectations of growth in the range of 7 to 9.p

  pIt also expects a provisioning ratio of as much as 100 basis points, compared with previous expectations of 40 basis points.p

  pThe banks shares are down 47 since Russias invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24 that Russia describes as a “special military operation”.p

  p1 0.9514 euros

  Reporting by Alexandra SchwarzGoerlich and Tom Sims Editing by Miranda Murray, Louise Heavens, Bradley Perrett and Barbara Lewisp

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